Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Real World

Do you ever wonder if other people live in the real world? You know, the one we inhabit, where tired, sweaty humans work long hours in the sun and rain to wrest from the ground the wonderful things we eat, the fuel for our homes and cars, to bring cattle to market, to make refrigerators and cars and light bulbs?

I've noticed that among the left, there is almost a disbelief in the old fashioned methods of work. It seems incomprehensible to some people that these wonders, Fords, freezers, and fillets don't just magically appear in the retail establishments where we encounter them.  It reminds me of the story told in my family, as my mother's then-three year old sister encountered a squawking, cackling bird running about in Granny's yard. Upon being told what it was, the little girl responded, "That's not a chicken, it has feathers on it!"

I am fairly certain that a lot of liberals, indeed most of the young people who so earnestly espouse the current leftist party lines, have little idea of the processes that bring them the cell phones, IPads, Priuses, and other miracles of technology.  When I was in school, we made innumerable field trips to see various industrial plants - a Coca-Cola bottling plant, Procter and Gamble's soap factory, Cincinnati Milling Machine, a GM plant, the Cincinnati Post-Times-Star newspaper presses, a can making factory, a fastener factory, even a place where they tested deodorants for P&G. I still remember watching in horror as a lab technician sniffed the stinking armpits of a handful of test volunteers. But I don't think that is part of most of most students' curriculum today. It's too bad. Being exposed to these jobs, to these occupations, to seeing how things are made, was important to me, to help me understand what it takes to bring "stuff" to me.  I visited the factory where my dad was a machinist many times.  Dad always wanted me to know what he did for a living, I think so that I might see it and choose differently. It was hot in the factory, loud with machinery, and for many the work in the plant was dull and repetitive. I was determined to go into the military, so it wasn't an issue for me. But I never forgot what I saw. It would do kids today a lot of good to see these things.

I think what is most nettlesome in the liberal world, is the utter disdain many liberals have for honest work that leaves one's hands calloused and dirty.  A liberal friend - a teacher, of course - had to call a plumber.  You would have thought the plumber was an extortionist! She was clearly offended that this tradesman - "who never went to college" should be able to make this much money fixing her leaky shower. I sat astonished that it was any part of the discussion that he had less education than a public school teacher! 

In Michael Burleigh's book, Moral Combat, a look at good and evil in World War II, he notes that in the Italy that brought the Fascists to power, the universities were a place to avoid the draft, and that the colleges produced several times more arts graduates than engineers.  Perhaps this serves as a warning, that when a nation becomes less interested in work and more into navel-gazing, it can only head into a bad place.  We should consider the lesson here in the real world.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Jim, Very well said. Reminds me of our days spent talking over tables full of food. Ah, Lutherans and our food! I sent this link to my son Jim. He and his wife are very involved politically. I think he wants to link to this site for something he is writing.

    Mary Kruta